Amanda Marcotte: Liberal Head, Bigoted Heart

I’ve just been re-reading Amanda Marcotte’s critique of Aaron Schock, whose supporters of “hyper masculinity” she pathologizes in The Guardian after he posed on the cover of Men’s Health.

In the last paragraph of her article, Marcotte suggests that only the final destruction of traditional masculinity will allow men and women to interact in a meaningful way. This really brought a couple of things home to me:

i. Equality in law is not enough for feminists like Marcotte. Equality of opportunity is not enough. Forced equality of outcome will not be enough. No matter how pro women society becomes, it will not be enough for her because, not only is it not about equality, it is neither about getting a better deal for women. It is about destroying masculinity.

Why? Because:

ii. Feminists cannot handle difference. They come from a very distinct socioeconomic pool, and their privilege and education have alienated them. Sure, as liberals they’ll celebrate diversity as a concept, but they’ve never had to experience it in the real world setting. They have never had to learn to negotiate a relationship with, and eventually understand and in some aspect be humbled by, someone who’s very real difference of background, values, opinions, temperament and aesthetics makes them uncomfortable.

They develop in an environment where their ideology and politics are reinforced without scrutiny, to the point where they become such unshakeable truths that, in their minds, anyone who does not share their world view must be defective.

The result is aversion to difference, not the embracing of it. In their world the aesthetic and ideological reinforce one another and reverberate through academic, state and media institutions – outside of which they cannot operate.

In Marcotte’s article, she indulges the liberal/feminist fallacy that the enthusiasm for sculpting the kind of muscular, traditionally masculine physiques you see on Men’s Health covers is symptomatic of some kind of homoerotic attraction/repulsion complex. Her inability to cope with difference blinds her to the obvious; men’s bodies react differently to exercise from women’s.

When a guy is eating healthily, with the kind of food and portion sizes he enjoys, and doing a lot of exercise, he doesn’t generally develop a wasp waist, slim thighs and diaphanous shoulders. He generally builds a lot of muscle. He may well orient more towards the weights than towards track, because he already has decent strength and knows he can quickly build muscle, burn fat during idle time and get a good dopamine hit. There’s no homoerotic subtext to buff men – strong, healthy male bodies are just noticeably more muscular than strong, healthy female bodies.

But Marcotte can’t accept that. For all her article’s contrived levity, the punch line reveals her visceral discomfort with masculinity and shows that in her mind, equality means the extermination of difference.

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